Keeping abreast of developments in testing times

How much can change in such a short period. While the after-effects will be felt for a long time to come, the bushfires have been managed and those regions, together with many of our worst drought-affected areas, have enjoyed long-awaited rainfall which will again alter the dynamics of the Australian landscape economically, socially and environmentally.

The big plus for our hunters will be a resurgence of game animals and pest species which need to be managed. Our ranges should share in part of this revival through members testing new equipment, sighting-in and practising their skills to achieve the best possible results from their hunting efforts.

Along with the environmental uplift, a commonsense decision was finally made to declare a bird season in Victoria after a tokenistic delay and rearranging of the deckchairs to appease the green emotion where there was no science to support their wafer-thin argument. I wish all Victorian bird hunters well in their campaign.

On the competitive scene the strong stance by a number of countries led by India has belatedly seen the inclusion of shooting as part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games although in a less than ideal manner. For those involved in this arena there will need to be a strong and ongoing effort to ensure competitive shooting does not become a casualty of Commonwealth Games political correctness in the future. Despite this distraction Australia currently has many top-class shooters vying for places in the upcoming Olympics and I’m confident we’ll all give these contenders every support leading up to and during the Games.

There is some movement on the legislation front through our constant lobbying efforts including a permanent national firearms amnesty much closer with final details to be thrashed out. Not surprisingly factual ignorance, parochial state agendas and sheer bloody mindedness seem to be the main stumbling blocks in achieving a timely and workable process but there is light at the end of the tunnel. My recent meetings at Federal Government level indicate a willingness to talk and listen but of course most firearms legislation is made and administered at State level so continual lobbying there is essential.

I also detected a belated but subtle acknowledgement that the original NFA was hastily and in several areas ill-conceived and the 2017 NFA review was little more than window dressing and is well dated. Of course, we need to remember this can be viewed from two perspectives but with factual research and organisational integrity there is the possibility of sensible change in future.

The threat of the COVID-19 virus rightly or wrongly has impacted on every part of society and what we do. Unfortunately this has meant the SSAA had to take appropriate measures to protect our members, resulting in postponement of the NSW Shot Expo and overseas travel for our competitive shooting teams.

As this is a rapidly moving feast, we’ll try our best to keep members up to date as much as we can through our various websites, Facebook pages, e-Newsletters and e-Alerts. SSAA will make every responsible and reasonable effort to keep our members and staff informed and protected, so please bear with us if there’s any personal inconvenience.

For those of us who are hunters as well and enjoy the bird and deer hunting (rut) seasons, we generally don’t come into contact with large crowds of people but take this opportunity to become part of this great natural environment in the purest sense. For the next month or two I’ll be with you doing what comes naturally and we might even bump into each other around the ridges.

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